A few years ago, I enrolled in Sketchbook Skool so I could find a friend I’d lost years ago: Art. I’d loved drawing as a kid, so much that I even got into a pretty big-deal art school. You know what happened next: criticism, comparison, big tears, lots and lots of monkey chatter. I put down my pens and didn’t draw again for decades.
I missed art so much it hurt. Art had been a friend to me, and without it, I felt not entirely whole. Then I found Sketchbook Skool—lessons that didn’t wring all the fun out of making things, cool assignments, and no critique. Just a lot of other people like myself who were happy making art.
An added bonus was all the scientific and psychological research coming out in recent years about how good doodling and drawing is for the brain, how it improves memory and the ability to focus (an endangered species these days). And how drawing and coloring helps us de-stress. All that, and you have a beautiful piece of art? Win-win!
But with the return of my old friend Art came my old nemesis, the Monkey. That critical inner voice tells me I could’ve done better or shouldn’t have bothered. There are days when I get discouraged, or I just don’t know what to draw. Those are days that feel like I forgot to eat breakfast or meditate; they’re just a little emptier, less fun. I’m less fun.
Today is the start of Sketchbook Skool’s newest kourse, A Drawing A Day. Veronica Lawlor, an accomplished, talented artist and author and a kind instructor, has a month’s worth of lessons she’ll teach every weekday. Some are basic, some are more intense. Some use crayons. The idea of using crayons and getting back to that little-kid freedom of making art—well, just think about it. What a gift.
This workshop also makes me think I can actually do a drawing a day. The lessons are simple (though not too easy) and they don’t take up a ton of time. I’ve been inspired by students in the SBS community who’ve been doing challenges, like 365 selfies and a portrait a day. It’s a new year; why not start it off with a fresh challenge, one that will make me happier and improve my life?
Check out A Drawing A Day here. You’ll get daily assignments, and you can share your art in the A Drawing A Day Facebook group and on social media with the hashtag #sbsadrawingaday. But it doesn’t stop there. Since this daily drawing habit is so good for you and can eventually change your life, there’s a Sketchbook Skool A Drawing A Day Challenge. This will go beyond the four-week ADAD kourse. Each day, there’s a new sketch challenge to inspire you. You can find the #sbsadrawingaday prompts on our Facebook public page, the closed group, on Twitter, and Instagram.
Everybody here at Sketchbook Skool is doing this too—co-founders Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene, Dean of Students Morgan Green, and me, Sketchbook Skool’s blog editor. Join us and make 2017 the year you do A Drawing A Day. And spend your new year with an old friend.
Suzan Colón writes blogs for Sketchbook Skool. She’s the author of Cherries in Winter: My Family’s Recipe for Hope in Hard Times and ten other books. Her next book, The Yoga Tools, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2018. A former Senior Editor of O, the Oprah Magazine, Suzan is a Yoga instructor who likes to meditate by drawing. Visit her at suzancolon.net and follow her on Facebook, Instagram at @suzanacolon, and Twitter at @colonsuzan.